SETU lecturer appointed to FAI board of directors

The Department of Sport and Exercise Science at South East Technological University (SETU) in Waterford is proud to announce the appointment of a researcher and lecturer to the board of directors of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

A lecturer in Sport Management and Talent Development, Dr Laura Finnegan's expertise extends beyond the pitch with her appointment to the FAI board on February 10. 

Dr Finnegan’s research into football development is renowned, earning her a PhD in the area. She has also engaged internationally in the football landscape, leading a UEFA project on football club environments across seven countries, acting as club development expert for the Norwegian Football Association, and as a research partner for the Croatian Football Association and US Soccer to name a few.

Dr Finnegan is currently supervising PhD students at SETU in the areas of upscaling recreational football for adults and engaging parents in youth sport. Her election as an independent director underscores the FAI's recognition of the importance of academic insight and rigorous analysis in shaping the future of Irish football. 

Dr Finnegan is also joined by Ursula Scully who returns to the board bringing a wealth of experience through her background within the North Tipperary Schoolchildren's Football League and the Munster Football Association.

Tony Keohane, Chair of the FAI board, expressed his confidence in the newly appointed directors, emphasising their diverse skill sets and shared passion for football development. “I have no doubt that they will be fantastic additions to what is now a highly skilled Board who are passionate about helping to continue developing Irish football at all levels,” stated Keohane. With these appointments, the board now boasts a remarkable 43% female representation and the appointments of Ursula Scully and Dr Laura Finnegan represent a significant step forward for the FAI, setting a standard for gender equality and diversity within sports governance.

FAI President Paul Cooke echoed these sentiments, welcoming Scully and Dr Finnegan to the board while acknowledging the collective effort required to achieve gender balance. “The Board will benefit from this addition of two directors who have strong backgrounds in business, education, and football,” said Cooke. 

Dr Laura Finnegan reflected on her appointment by saying: “It’s a proud day for me and for my family. I have always believed in the social, business, performance, and health case for a strong and cohesive football environment across Ireland and I will use my voice as an Independent Director to make that case to all key stakeholders. I would like to thank the FAI board nomination committee and the General Assembly for their support.”

The Department of Sport and Exercise Science looks forward to witnessing Dr Finnegan’s leadership and representation in shaping the future of Irish football.